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Hairotom - a device for non-invasive collection of hair samples including follicular cells from mammals


In accordance with the 3 Rs principle (to replace, reduce and refine) animal models in biomedical research, a new approach is presented for sampling and analyzing hair follicles in various experimental settings. HairotomTM is a convenient device operable by a single person for the non-invasive collection of hair follicular cells from various mammals. The amount of collected biological material is suffi cient to replace stressful and painful biopsies. Moreover, the main components of collected hair follicles are live cells of epithelial origin, which are highly relevant for studying ageing-related pathologies, including cancer. Obtained hair follicular cells are amenable for genotyping, quantitative PCR, and quantitative immunofl uorescence using standard or slightly modified experimental protocols.


At present, invasive and non-invasive methods are used for collecting hair samples. The invasive procedure involves excising the tissue near the hair’s root and processing the extracted tissue further. Invasive surgery always poses a risk of infection, permanent scarring and discomfort and with some hair types, for example, eyelashes and eyebrows, application of this method is very diffi cult. Non-invasive methods involve extracting the hair in a way that the root surrounded by follicular cells is included. For this purpose, various types of ordinary tweezers, forceps and hemostats are used. The disadvantage of such regular metal instruments is the risk of breaking the hair in the area weakened by the grip. Another important factor in hair extraction is how easily the extraction device can grip many hairs. Finally, further manipulation with the extracted hairs introduces multiple practical scrutinies refl ecting such samples’ small size and general vulnerability.

Genotyping • Treatment response • Biomarkers studies • Basic research • Biodosimetry • Alopecia research • Hair-associated microbiome analysis • Derivation of primary cell lines

Key features

Hairotom provides a new future in sampling and processing in translational research and routine applications, with a broad range of ethical and logistic advantages over currently used biopsybased approaches. The device was optimized and validated for extraction of hairs from mammals to obtain complex hair samples allowing further analysis.

Non-invasive • Easy to use • Low costs • Mulitple hairs per sample • Compatible with various mammalian hairs • Disposable forceps • Sterile conditions compatible

Patent protection

The method and device is patent protected in EU and USA (WO 2014/086324, EP 2928382, US 14/649785).

Technology IP owners

institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University, Olomouc


Please contact IMTM´s director ( or the technology transfer office (